As an avid Wii U fan, there was little more frustrating than the “third party support” the system failed to enjoy. Not so much because of the lack of it, but because what we did get was usually low effort, overpriced, and flat out better on other platforms. When I read that Fifa 18 for the Switch was going to release without the story mode and the Frostbite engine that have both become highlights of the game for the Xbox One and PS4, I figured EA was going to continue down this path that leaves Nintendo gamers in the dust. But after playing it for myself at E3, utilizing the Switch’s strengths give this version a good chance of avoiding the pitfalls that the Wii U was filled with.
Game play wise, if you’ve played Fifa in the past, then there’s not much to point out here. As the premiere worldwide soccer simulator, two players pick their favorite international teams and jock for position to create tense, exciting back and forth matches where one small opening can lead to that game winning goal, or that heartbreaking block.
Where the Switch version stand out however, is its portability. The DS family and Sony’s handhelds have had their shots, but they always felt like the expected lesser versions, sacrificing quality for the ability to play it on the go. This wasn’t the case when playing the Switch version, because while the visuals weren’t at Frostbite levels, the portable screen ran the game so well that it was barely noticeable. For the first time, a full console quality Fifa game could be played on the road, and I can see this being a big hit with the game’s worldwide fanbase.
It’s disappointing that a major feature had to be cut out at all, but considering most people buy Fifa for the multiplayer, the Switch’s inherent ability to have out of the box two player matches with the joycons make it an inexpensive way to keep the rivalries going away from home without compromising quality. Now, rather than gamers having to choose what platform they want the game for, I can see the most hardcore players buying one for home and one for the road. I’ve said in the past that third party versions on Nintendo consoles are at their best when they highlight the unique features of the system rather than trying to keep up with the competitor’s consoles, and this looks exactly like what Fifa is doing.
What say you, futbol fans? Can you see yourself picking up an extra portable copy, or will the Switch version be your only copy? Is the portability enough to forsake the story mode and Frostbite engine? Let us know in the comments!